Achievement Gap May Widen During Distance Learning

Achievement Gap May Widen During Distance Learning Click to Enlarge Photo: Unsplash

(KNSI) - In the past few weeks, Minnesota school districts have ramped up distance learning in light of the pandemic.

But education advocates worry that not all kids have the right resources or support systems to achieve the proper level of learning, which may exacerbate gaps.

Josh Crosson, executive director of EdAllies, says other families don't have internet access, or a parent's job situation doesn't allow them to ensure their child is doing the school work.

In a statement, Minnesota's education commissioner said, "Districts have been intentional in keeping equity at the center of their plans." The commissioner says the guidelines allow districts to create plans to meet the needs of individual students, rather than a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.

Crosson says there are examples of teachers going the extra mile to connect with students, and notes that the department had to issue new guidelines on the fly.

Crosson thinks the state was under-prepared for this situation, and can hopefully build a more robust plan based on the experience.

"Minnesota as a whole has been super-resistant to distance learning before this pandemic occurred," says Crosson. "Now that we understand a need for it, I think the [education] department should be able to play a role in creating some guidelines on what distance learning should look like in every district."

District 742 Superintendent Willie Jett says they were prepared for the distance learning order and wanted to start online education right away, but adds they were told to wait by the state so all of the districts could come back from spring break, and those who didn't already have one could create a plan and schools could all start at the same time.